Posted on

Hot Tea Toddies

Warm and toasty, ideal for cold and snowy days, the Hot Toddy is a classic hot drink. Most black and green teas mix well with honey and lemon, but from there it’s a personal preference.

The hot toddy – that age-old cold remedy – really does work wonders at helping you recover from a virus! Just limit yourself to one drink; too much alcohol can adversely affect the immune system.

In a mug, combine 1 Tablespoon whiskey, 1 Tablespoon honey, Juice of a small lemon & hot tea.

If desired, garnish with lemon slices, cinnamon and a pinch of ground nutmeg. Serves one.

If preferred any of the following can be substituted: Rum, Brandy, Grand Marnier, Amaretto, Crème de Mênthe, Framboise, Cherry Herring, Calvados or Frangelico.

Posted on

Paradise Cake From Liverpool

I first tasted paradise cake on a visit with my BFF, Marion Brown, to the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Liverpool where they have a great collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings. Seeing the art was wonderful, but must confess it was the delicious paradise cake that I remember most. Had never tasted or even heard of paradise cake before but apparently it is very popular in the Liverpool region. Here is a recipe from Eva LL. Jones, a true Liverpudlian lass.



Short Crust Pastry

Raspberry jam

½ cup unsalted butter

4 rounded tablespoons extra-fine sugar

2 tablespoons chopped glacé cherries

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons ground almonds

2 tablespoons ground rice

1 cup raisins

1 beaten egg

Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Roll out pastry on a floured surface and place in a greased 11 inch by 7 inch baking pan. Bake blind for ten minutes and remove from oven.

Beat together the butter and sugar until creamy and add the beaten egg. Then fold in the rest of the ingredients. Spread a generous layer of raspberry jam on the bottom of the pastry and then spread the butter mixture on top of the jam.

Bake in center of the oven for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and while still hot, sprinkle with sugar. Leave to cool in the pan. When it is cold, remove from the pan and cut into squares.

Posted on

Brenda Pollock’s Irish Soda Bread


The American version of soda bread often includes caraway seeds and raisins. Caraway, though not common, was traditionally added to soda bread in Donegal, Leitrim and County Clare. A real soda bread is a simple loaf with a beautifully browned, craggy crust and a nice chew, best eaten liberally smeared with salty Irish butter such as Kerrygold.

Soda bread gets its name from the fact that baking soda is used as the leavening agent instead of yeast. According to Colman Andrews, author of The Country Cooking of Ireland, the use of baking soda in baked goods did not exist in Ireland until 1846, when two New York bakers came to visit. Today, their companies are a household name — Arm & Hammer. Without them, Irishsoda bread as we know it today might not even exist.



4 cups All Purpose Flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons Demerara Sugar (Turbinado Sugar)

4 tablespoons cold salted butter

1 tablespoon caraway seed* Can be omitted

1 cup golden raisins* Can be omitted

1 egg

1-1/4 – 1-1/2 cups of buttermilk

1 tablespoon of milk to glaze the top


Preheat oven to 350˚. Arrange shelf one up from the middle.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Sift all dry ingredients together.  Cut cold butter into small pieces and then cut into the flour until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.  Fold in caraway seeds and raisins.  Add egg to the buttermilk and beat well before adding to dry ingredients. Use a knife to blend into a dough.  Then place on counter and knead into a ball that holds its shape. Put dough onto baking sheet. Make a fist and flatten with knuckles until the dough is 8 inches wide.  Cut a deep cross in the middle. Glaze with the milk.

Bake 1 hour or until when the bottom is tapped that it sounds hollow.   Let cool.  Then slice along the cross lines into quarters.  Each quarter is again sliced.  Eat with lots of butter and enjoy.

To make Irish Soda Bread Scones. Preheat oven to 425˚ Scoop 1/3 cup size mounds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, 3 inches apart; bake 15-20 minutes until the bottoms are golden. Let cool on sheet. For a special glaze, combine 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons milk and ¼ teaspoon grated orange zest.  Drizzle over scones; serve.

Posted on

Green Tomato Tea Bread

green tomato tea bread

This quick bread is delicious for breakfast or dessert as is or toasted and slathered with butter or plain or flavored cream cheese. You can even turn stale quick bread into French toast and a slightly dense bread pudding. Tomato quick bread really needs no adornment but, if you want to gussy it up a bit, sprinkle the top with confectioners’ sugar or coat with a light layer of cream cheese frosting (see recipe below).


Ingredients:green tomato tea bread

1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspn. salt
½ teaspn. baking soda
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup white sugar
1 cup grated green tomato*
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspn. vanilla
1 cup chopped, toasted pecans
1 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Lightly grease the bottom and ½ inch up the sides of a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan; set
aside. In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Make a well in the center of the flour
mixture; set aside.

In a medium bowl combine eggs, sugar, grated tomato, oil and vanilla. Add tomato mixture all at once
to the flour mixture. Stir only until moistened. Fold in nuts and raisins. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour or until a cake tester inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack
for a minimum of 15 minutes. GENTLY remove from pan. Cake is very fragile while still warm. Wrap
and store 24 hours before slicing. Freezes well. Makes 1 loaf.

*Drain and remove as much moisture as possible.

Posted on

Iced Tea-Brined Chicken

Brining chicken not only adds moisture to the chicken, making it nice and plump, it also helps prevent it from drying out when you cook it. The result is a delicious, moist and juicy chicken. Also tea, which contains a lot of tannins, naturally tenderizes meat and enhances its natural flavor.

Make ahead:  The Chicken needs to be refrigerated in the brine for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. 



The Brine:

1 gallon water

7 rounded teaspoons of black loose-leaf tea* or 7 regular tea bags

1 cup kosher salt

2 cups granulated sugar

2 large lemons each cut lengthwise into quarters

4-6 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or drumsticks or a combination of the two.

The Chicken:

2-3 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon sweet paprika


The Brine: Bring the water to a boil in large pan. Add the tea, and then remove the pan from the heat. Add the salt and granulated sugar, stirring well until dissolved. Allow the brine to cool completely. (Never try to brine chicken in warm water or you will create a bacteria farm that could make you sick.)  Once the brine is cold, discard the tea bags or strain out the tea leaves.

Transfer the brine to a 2-gallon food storage bag or a pan deep enough to hold the brine and the chicken. (The pan should be made of a non-reactive material like glass or stainless steel.)

Add four of the lemon wedges and the chicken to the brine. Make sure the chicken is completely submerged. If you need to, place something heavy over it to keep it from floating to the surface.  Seal the bag.  Keep the chicken cold while you brine it!  Refrigerate for at least 8 and up to 24 hours. When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the brine. Once you’re done with the chicken brine, throw it out. Don’t keep it to reuse it for anything. It had raw chicken floating in it and it’s not safe to use.

Pat the meat dry with paper towels

In a small bowl combine the brown sugar and paprika, then sprinkle the mixture all over the meat.

Place chicken and the 4 remaining lemon wedges on the grill. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes. Turn the meat over and continue to cook uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes or until the chicken’s juices run clear and the skin is crisped and mahogany brown.

Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.  Squeeze the juice from the grilled lemon wedges over the chicken.

Cook’s Note: 

*We suggest you try using a Darjeeling or Ceylon tea to give a liveliness and added complexity to the chicken.

Darjeeling: Darjeeling is a district in West Bengal, India, famous for producing tea. One of India’s most expensive teas, the flavors of Darjeelings are very complex.  Often referred to as “the champagne of teas” it is revered by connoisseurs across the globe. Some would describe the taste as nutty; others find it reminds them of Muscat grapes.

Ceylon: Ceylon tea is the common name for tea grown on the island of Sri Lanka which, prior to independence from the British, was called Ceylon. Teas from this country are generally known for their straightforward liquors and full bodied flavors.  They are often described as “elegant” because of this quality.

Posted on

Clouds In Your Glass? (Cloudy Iced Tea)

As people experiment with iced drinks, many are frustrated by cloudy iced tea.

“Clouding” refers to the opaque, fog-like appearance of a tea’s liquor that sometimes occurs after brewing. It is generally seen as a negative quality because people assume that tea should be completely transparent. Some believe that cloudiness is an indication of poor quality tea, that it contains foreign particulates or that it will adversely affect flavor even though, in reality, clouding has no impact on taste. The problem is made worse because iced tea tends to be served in clear glasses, displaying the “defect” for all to see.

There are two reasons that iced teas become cloudy.

  •  Hard water which contains high concentrations of minerals when brewed with tea can form 
    visible solids which do not dissolve at cooler temperatures.
  •  The natural building blocks of tea are thought to cause the clouding, especially Theaflavins. If
    the tea cools too quickly the Theaflavins will not remain suspended and the teas will cloud.

1. Allow the tea to come to room temperature before putting it into the fridge or adding ice.
2. If the tea has already clouded, add a tiny bit of hot water to it before serving.
3. Make sure that you are steeping in water that’s minerally balanced.

Our Recommendations:

Nilgiri – Glendale tea that produces a crystal- clear drink. (Now packaged in iced tea pouches and called
“Fresh Brew Black Tea.”
Other teas that do not cloud are:
Rooibos-based teas such as Lemon Soufflé
Fruit Blends – Verry Berry, Strawberry-Kiwi or Blood Orange.
Herbals – Dragonfly Song or Mint Refresher

Posted on

Say No To Sun-Tea


If you are still making Sun Tea, be aware that it is not recommended by The Tea Association of the USA as an acceptable means of steeping tea. The reasons concern both taste and safety.
Tea, being an agricultural crop is subject to contamination by bacteria, as is virtually every food or beverage item that is consumed. While careful attention is exercised during the process of the tea leaves there is always the risk of post- production contamination. While this is of little concern if tea is prepared following the guidelines of the Tea Association. There are potential concerns about Sun Tea for
the following reasons:
  • The containers used may be dirty or become contaminated during the long exposure in the sun and ambient air or the hands of the preparers may not be sufficiently clean.
  • The temperature of the water used for steeping sun tea generally is insufficient to kill off any bacteria that may be present.
  • The conditions typically present by leaving water in the sun are ideal for the growth of bacteria (low temperatures and long periods of time.)
  • To maximize the taste of the tea and to realize all the healthy properties the water used to steep the tea should be close to the boiling point and the steeping time is ideally between 3 and 5 minutes.
If you do make Sun Tea and it has a thick or syrupy appearance, it may be due to the presence of a ropy bacteria called Alcaligenes Viscolactis commonly found in soil and water. Discard immediately and sanitize the container. A few years ago, several people became ill after drinking tainted iced tea. It was determined that the tea had been made with tap water only heated by the sun to 130˚F and then left to sit at room
temperature for more than 24 hours. As a result, the Centers for Disease Control and The Tea Association of the USA recommend the following when making tea:
  • Brew tea at 195˚F for three to five minutes.
  • Brew only enough tea that can be used within a few hours.
  • Never keep brewed tea for more than eight hours at room temperature.
  • Wash, rinse and sanitize tea-making equipment regularly.
  • Instead of making Sun Tea make tea (cold brew) overnight in the refrigerator as you would in the sun.